Managing Natural Resource Pathways
In natural resource work, equipment and organisms are often moved from one location to another. The specific equipment or organism being moved is called the target. Targets could include animals for relocation or stocking for recreation, equipment such as a bulldozers and backhoes, sampling gear such as nets or traps, and even people. Transporting targets provides a potential vector for the spread of non-target species that could potentially invade new habitat. Non-target species are the plants, animals, diseases, pathogens and parasites that are not intended to be moved. As Natural Resource Managers, it is essential that we do our best to remove these hazards from pathways.
International Standard: HACCP Planning is an international standard (ASTM E2590 - 09) for reducing or eliminating the spread of unwanted species during specific processes or practices or in materials or products. Please see the Standard Guide for Conducting Hazard Analysis-Critical Control Point (HACCP) Evaluations.
Resource management work often creates open pathways that could spread invasive species to unique and critical habitats for already endangered species. Next to habitat loss, invasive species are resource management’s biggest challenge. Executive Order 13112, 1999, directs agencies to prevent the spread of invasive species in their work but few management tools exist to implement this Directive. Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) planning has been modified from the food industry for natural resource work. Around the world industry uses the HACCP planning tool to remove product contamination. In natural resource pathways, hitchhiking species are considered contaminants. HACCP’s comprehensive planning identifies these species and the risk of contamination while documenting the best management practices used to prevent and remove hitchhikers.
HACCP planning focuses attention on critical control points where non-target species can be removed. Documenting risks and methods used to remove non target species gives managers a strategic method to make consistent decisions based on identified risks. Planning builds a logical framework of information to weigh risks for species spread against management benefits.
Why? A few errors can have long-lasting affects on agency mission! Additional planning support is available on this web site where a planning manual, supporting documents, forms and a database of completed HACCP plans are available in several formats. Please share your best management practices and return completed plans for the database.
Appropriate planning should be implemented for species collections, relocations, equipment transfers and other natural resource work in order to prevent the spread of hitchhiking species through these pathways.
For more information, please contact...
David Britton, Ph.D.
Regional AIS Coordinator
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Southwest Region